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Created by J. Davis, ACHS (Slides 10 – 22 by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen ). URBAN LEGENDS. Urban Legend. Modern folklore usually believed by their teller’s to be true. One of my friends had a friend who… My brother knows this guy who… - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • *Created by J. Davis, ACHS

    (Slides 10 22 by Don L. F. Nilsenand Alleen Pace Nilsen)

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  • Urban LegendModern folklore usually believed by their tellers to be true.One of my friends had a friend whoMy brother knows this guy whoI know this guy in school who had thisFOAF Friend of a friendSuch personalization serves to authenticate its origins and empower the message

  • Becoming a LegendGenerally, an urban legend sticks if it carries some sort of significance, message, or warning (called a moral in traditional folklore)Also known as contemporary legend not necessarily all about urban areas

  • How an Urban Legend SpreadsWord of mouthNewspaperEmail (Chain letters)Popular culture movies, books, comicsMany urban legends adapt to their region and timeSpider in the beehive hairdo spider in an emo cut

  • Urban LegendFirst used in 1968, becoming popular in 1981Many have complete plots, characters, and settings (which vary based on the region or context in which it appears)

  • Typical TraitsOften serves as some sort of cautionary tale or warningMysteryHorrorFearHumor

  • Typical Urban Legend ScenarioHorrific Crime the escaped killer, the hook, the flashing headlights, the gang initiationContamination food, clothing, etc.Negative consequences for careless choices which could hit many peopleDire consequences for those not passing the information or taking it seriously

  • Truth or Legend? Some cluesA lack ofSpecificityNamesDatesLocationsPersistent urban legends have some degree of plausibilityThe killer in the backseatThe endangered babysitter alone in the house

  • Urban Legends as a Tool?Urban legends may indicate a societys collective concerns and fears regarding crime, health, childcare, the working parents, the unknown, and other pressing concerns

  • 10*Urban Legends, like Hip Hop and Rap Exhibit many features of Literature:

    They are dramatic, and play on such emotions as fear or embarrassment.

    They are filled with such rhetorical devices as Hyperbole (overstatement), Antithesis, Symbolism, Irony, and especially Poetic Justice.

    They appear credible, because they are grounded in reality, and because they explain mysterious phenomena.

    They are also based on stereotypes and archetypes we see around us every day.

    They get our attention, because they are gross and sexual and scatalogogical and Titillating.

    And they are documented, because they always happened to a Friend of a Friend. They are therefore called FOAF tales.

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  • YOU PROVIDE THE ENDINGSA man goes to a hotel with a beautiful, sexy woman he met at a party. They share a passionate night, after which he falls asleep. When he wakes in the morning, the woman is gone, but written in lipstick on the mirror is this message:Welcome to the world of AIDS.10*

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  • The driver of a cement truck goes past his house at lunch time and sees a brand new car in the driveway. He is suspicious that his wife has a male visitor, so he sneaks up to the house and hears a mans voice. In anger, hebacks his truck up to the new car and dumps in his lad of cement.Later he learns that his wife has just purchased the new car for his birthday.(Nilsen & Nilsen 302)10*

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  • On a cold and rainy night, a man sees a young woman standing at a bus stop with no coat and no umbrella. He stops and offers her a ride home, which she gratefully accepts.Because the two are so compatible and she lives right on his way, he aranges to pick her up on a regular basis. But after a few evenings she isnt there. He goes to the house where he has been dropping her off and learns that20 years ago she had been killed by a speeding car at that very bus stop.(Nilsen & Nilsen 303)10*

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  • A vacationing husband takes off all his clothes and is relaxing in the back of the camper while his wife takes a turn driving. When she stops suddenly, he jumps out to see what the trouble is. It is just a dog crossing the road, so the wifespeeds off not realizing that she has left her naked husband behind.(Nilsen & Nilsen 303)10*

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  • 10*Tell us each of these urban legends:

    The Alligators in the Sewers

    The Baby on the Roof

    The Fifty-Dollar Thunderbird

    The Dog in the Oven

    The Second Blue Book

    The Baby and the Turkey

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  • 10*The Death of Little Mikey

    The Elephant That Sat on a VW

    The Finger in the Dogs Throat

    The Mickey Mouse Acid

    The Hairy-Armed Hitchhiker

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  • 10*The Manhattan White

    The Phantom Hitchhiker

    The Purse in the Changing Room

    The Maniacs Hook

    The Stuck Couple

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  • 10*!RUMORS:

    When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he replied: Because thats where the money is

    Mary Baker Eddy was buried with a telephone so she could talk to the other side

    John Dillingers member is at the Smithsonian Institution

    Humphrey Bogart posed for Gerber baby picture

    Tobacco Companies own large marijuana plantations in South America

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  • 10*!There are ground worms in McDonalds hamburgers

    Pop Rocks have exploded inside childrens stomachs

    Cigarette filters are made of ground glass

    Some Girl Scout cookies are laced with hashish

    Procter and Gambel advertisers are Devil worshipers

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  • 10*!!

    and that Some Kentucky Fried Chicken is actually Peoples Fingers

    and that one of the ingredients of Coca Cola is cocaine.

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  • 10*!!!TRUTH

    But the one about the Kentucky Fried Finger actually happened, but it was at Wendys and it was a customers finger.

    and its also true that one of the ingredients of Coca Cola used to be cocaine.

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  • References:

    Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Choking Doberman and Other New Urban Legends. New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1984.

    Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meaning. New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1981.

    Dickson, Paul, and Joseph Golden. There Are Alligators in Our Sewers and Other American Credos. New York, NY: Delacorte, 1983.

    Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers, 10th Edition. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009.

    Mey, Jacob. Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2nd Edition. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.

    Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000.10*

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